Course Administration

Course Catalog

The Course Catalog

Through the my.harvard Course Search the Faculty of Arts and Sciences offers undergraduate and graduate courses to students registered in Harvard College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science, and to other Harvard University graduate students in good standing.

During the summer of 2015, the my.harvard Course Search replaced Courses of Instruction as the online course catalog for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The Course Search is updated every 24 hours and is accessible at my.harvard Course Search. On request, the Course Search may be linked to department and committee websites. 

The Office of the Registrar compiles courses by gathering information from department, division, and committee offices (not individual instructors) as well as the Dean’s office. Department and committee chairs should approve all new courses and course changes. Catalog coordinators throughout FAS collaborate with the Registrar's Office to create and maintain curricular offerings. 

Course information published through the my.harvard Course Search becomes the official basis for the Registrar’s records; it affects classroom assignments, examination schedules, and the release of electronic course lists and grade sheets. Moreover, complete and up-to-date course information enables the Registrar to carry out Faculty policy regarding simultaneous course enrollment, as well as to locate individual students in an emergency. For this reason it is extremely important that departments and committees notify Academic Planning (courses@fas.harvard.edu) in the Office of the Registrar of any changes—especially changes of instructor or meeting time—regardless of when they occur in the academic year.

Creating or Modifying a Course

Points to Consider When Creating or Modifying a Course in the my.harvard Course Search

When creating or modifying a course, faculty members are advised to consult with the appropriate curricular committee(s). Curricular committees may create or modify course "subjects" (the high-level subject category in the online catalog) in consultation  with the Office of Undergraduate Education. The points listed below are based on the policies of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The Academic Planning group in the Office of the Registrar will work with faculty members to set and display a course (or set of courses) in a manner that best reflects the pedagogy of the course within the bounds of current technical resources.

Courses are numbered according to the following scheme:

1-99 or 910-999: Primarily for Undergraduates

100-199 or 1000-1999: For Undergraduates and Graduates

200-299 or 2000-2999: Primarily for Graduates

300-399 or 3000-3999: Graduate Courses of Reading and Research 

  • Courses may have only one number. An FAS course may be listed in more than one FAS department, but only with permission of the concerned departments. Faculty will have access to a roster that includes enrollment for both classes. Both classes will emerge in the my.harvard course search results when searching for either of the two courses.
  • Course titles appear on student transcripts which have space for only 100 characters. Faculty members are encouraged to submit both an appropriate transcript title of 100 characters and a short title of 30 characters to appear on student schedules.
  • Course descriptions are unlimited in length. Since students often search for courses on mobile devices, however, we encourage faculty to limit the descriptions to 100 words. 
  • Courses listed but not offered in the current academic year are designated by enclosing the course number and title in square brackets. Bracketed courses should include the term when it will be next offered, and may also include the instructor's name. Courses may be bracketed for three consecutive years. After three years, the course should be scheduled or inactivated. 
  • Faculty who limit the number of students who may enroll in a course are required by Faculty policy to approve student enrollment; that is, the course must require instructor consent and faculty will approve requests to enroll. It is possible, however, to require instructor consent even if the course is not limited in enrollment. The my.harvard Course Search will list capacity and instructor's permission as needed. All tutorials and 300/3000-level courses should have limited enrollments and require the instructor's permission to enroll.
  • A meeting time is necessary for all courses including, where possible, tutorials, laboratory sessions, and section meetings.
  • For purposes of cross-registration between Harvard Schools, courses that are jointly offered with another Harvard Faculty will be indicated in the my.harvard course search as "Jointly Offered."
  • Occasionally, two departments in the FAS may offer courses with similar content. Should faculty members conclude that two courses are of sufficient similarity to preclude students earning credit for both, notify the Registrar's Office to create an anti-requisite so students are unable to enroll in both courses for credit.

 

 

Special Types of Courses

The following distinctions reflect long-standing Harvard tradition and are offered as basic guidelines.

Seminars, Proseminars, and Conference Courses

A seminar tends to focus on more advanced and/or specific research topics. It has few, if any, lectures and emphasizes student presentations, papers, and research. Enrollment is usually limited to 12 to 15 students.

A proseminar is a graduate course usually taken to obtain appropriate background in a subject or area in preparation for a more advanced seminar.

A conference course places more emphasis on discussion than research. It usually has an enrollment of about 25 students (35 maximum), meets once a week for 2-3 hours, and incorporates lectures, as well as student papers and research.

In general, seminars and conference courses are open to advanced undergraduates as well as graduate students. Ordinarily, they do not have final examinations, nor do they qualify for teaching fellows.

Tutorial Instruction (Undergraduates Only)

Tutorials are opportunities for students to participate in small group or one-on-one instruction in their concentrations. They are generally characterized by their centrality in the concentration curriculum, by their sequencing, and by their emphasis on methodology and academic skills.

All full-time faculty members are ordinarily expected to participate in the tutorial programs of the concentrations with which they are affiliated. Participation may involve individual or group tutorials, special seminars, or the direction of senior theses or projects. Although faculty-taught individual tutorials or group tutorials are ideal in many subject areas, departmental resources may be insufficient to accommodate these goals. When a tutorial is conducted by a teaching fellow, a designated faculty member should have ultimate responsibility, and that faculty member should oversee reading lists, discussion topics, and paper topics. From time to time, faculty members should participate in the tutorials for which they have accepted responsibility. (See Responsibility for Instruction and Responsibility for Evaluation.)

Supervised Reading and Research Courses

Undergraduates interested in supervised reading and research may enroll in courses offered by many departments under the designation of 91 or 910. Such courses are not Independent Study but regular courses with weekly or biweekly meeting times agreed upon by the instructor and student. Students enrolled in Reading and Research courses are expected to complete course work under supervision and not independently. Instructors of such courses must hold a teaching appointment. (See Responsibility for Instruction and Independent Study.)

Graduate students enrolled in Reading and Research courses (300-level courses) do not receive letter grades but are graded SAT/UNS. Undergraduates may not enroll in courses numbered in the 300s or 3000s. However, Advanced Standing students in their fourth year of residence who are candidates for the master’s degree may enroll in such courses with the instructor’s permission. (See Undergraduates in Courses Designated Primarily for Graduates.)

Freshman and House Seminars

Freshman and House Seminars are offered under the general supervision of the Committee on Freshman Seminars (www.freshmanseminars.college.harvard.edu). Both are small, limited enrollment courses. The Freshman Seminars are designed to intensify the intellectual experience of incoming undergraduates by allowing them to work closely with faculty members on topics of mutual interest. Freshman Seminars are graded SAT/UNS, may not be audited, and enrollment is limited to the first two terms of First-Year students.

House Seminars are sponsored by the individual residential Houses and ordinarily are open to undergraduates only. These Seminars bring something new to the existing curriculum either in method of instruction, range and depth of subject matter, integration of practice and theory, or special responsiveness to students’ needs. House Seminars are letter-graded degree-credit courses that may be taken Pass/Fail. Enrollment requires the permission of the instructor. Any request to offer a House Seminar must first be approved by the Faculty Dean of the sponsoring House.

Independent Study (Undergraduates Only)

Independent Study is designed to provide credit for field research, academic study not available in regular course work, or practice or performance in the arts. It is not suitable for group instruction, paid work, or activities outside the competence or concern of one of Harvard’s departments. Studying the financial accounting system of a business firm might be an appropriate project, but working in an accounting office to gain business experience would not by itself merit academic credit. Investigating child development through observation in a day care center could qualify, but simply tutoring a child would not. Analyzing the organization of a political group might be a suitable subject, but organizing a political campaign would not alone suffice. In each case what distinguishes the suitable project is the application of analytical skills to the object of the Independent Study, not the intrinsic worthiness or instructiveness of the experience itself.

Any sophomore, junior, or senior whose previous record is satisfactory may petition to undertake Independent Study for non-letter-graded credit. A student may petition to take up to a total of four half-courses of Independent Study. Independent Study courses are subject to the same rules for dropping and withdrawing as any other course.

A petition to undertake Independent Study, available on the Office of Undergraduate Education (OUE) website, requires two signatures:

  1. That of a qualified adviser (ordinarily a voting member of Harvard Faculty) who must be an officer of the University and whose professional competence is appropriate for the subject area of the Independent Study. In those exceptional cases where the adviser is not a faculty member - for example, a teaching fellow - the petition must also be supported by an appropriate academic department or unit.
  2. That of the Allston Burr Resident Dean, which signifies that the proposal satisfies the guidelines and has been signed by the adviser. Resident Deans will refer questions concerning guidelines to the Office of Undergraduate Education.

The petition also requires an outline of the student’s proposed project. The full petition must be submitted to the Allston Burr Resident Dean for approval, ordinarily in the first week of the term. The completed petition paperwork, including the proposal, must then be submitted to the OUE, ordinarily before the enrollment deadline.  Once final approval is granted by the OUE, the Allston Burr Resident Dean must lift the advising hold in my.harvard in order for the student to register. Any change-of-course petition that is filed to add, drop, or withdraw from Independent Study also requires the approval of the Allston Burr Resident Dean. A separate petition, properly completed, must be filed for each half-course of Independent Study.

The adviser will assist the student in the development of a plan for Independent Study and provide guidance but not regular instruction. Independent Study does not imply formal instruction and should not be confused with tutorials, House Seminars, or with directed or Supervised Reading and Research courses offered by several academic departments and committees. (Supervised Reading and Research courses are generally numbered 91 or 910 and normally receive letter grades.) A student enrolled in Independent Study must undertake to work independently. Classroom work, regular instruction, and group projects are inadmissible. Students whose projects include interviews or research involving human subjects should contact the Undergraduate Research Training Program before submitting their independent study petition.

The adviser will submit a midterm grade based on a preliminary written report by the student of his or her activities. At the beginning of the Reading Period, the student must submit to the adviser an analytical paper concerning the term’s work. A simple description or report of the term’s activities is not by itself adequate. In the case of artistic practice or performance, evidence of substantial accomplishment should be supplied in lieu of written work.

The granting of credit will be determined by the adviser. In those cases where the adviser is not a voting member of a Harvard Faculty, then the Chair, Director of Undergraduate Studies, or Head Tutor of the department, or equivalent officer with voting membership in a Harvard Faculty, must review and approve the petition and the grade assigned by the adviser. Independent Study is graded “Pass” or “Fail.” The adviser will submit a copy of the student’s paper and a brief statement about his or her work for inclusion in the student’s folder in the Resident Dean’s office, ordinarily by the first day of the Examination Period. Independent Study is not counted toward General Education or distribution requirements and is not normally counted toward concentration or secondary field requirements.

First-year students may not enroll in Independent Study. They may, however, seek special permission from the Freshman Dean’s Office to enroll in one Supervised Reading and Research course within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (91r- and 910r-level course category) if an appropriate member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences has indicated a willingness to supervise. (See “Supervised Reading and Research Courses" within this section)

Course Meeting Times

New 2018-2019 Course Schedule

The instructional day is organized around designated class start times and fixed pass times. All classes must adhere to the designated class start and end times. Classes run up to 75 minutes, with the last 15 minutes of the 90 minutes reserved for pass time between classes. Classes, seminars, colloquia, and labs requiring more than 75 minutes in any single meeting shall begin from a specified subset of the designated class start times: 9:00am, *9:45am, 12:00pm, 3:00pm, and 6:00pm. 

*With the approval of the Dean of Undergraduate Education, once- or twice-weekly seminars of two hours may begin at 9:45am. 

By Faculty vote, no class, committee or departmental meeting, tutorial, conference, examination, or other academic activity may be scheduled from 3:00 until 5:00 p.m., or any part of that period, on any of the days designated for meetings of the Faculty (usually the first Tuesday of the month, from 3 to 5 pm, October through May excluding January). Exceptions to this rule may be granted only by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Please consult the 2018 FAS Schedule Change Faculty Legislation for more information.

Holidays and Days Preceding and Following Holidays and Vacations

FAS classes will be held on observed Veteran’s Day (check the Academic Calendar for the specific date). Otherwise, classes should not be held on holidays or during vacations. By vote of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, instructors are expected to hold regular classes on the days preceding and following holidays and vacations. Students should not be excused from class on those days or allowed to transfer temporarily from one section to another to accommodate a longer holiday or vacation.

Courses Meeting Away from the University

Ordinarily, courses should be organized to meet only in their regularly-scheduled times, plus the additional times scheduled at the beginning of the term for sections and laboratories. In some cases, an instructor may wish to include a field trip or project that would take students away from the University on days when classes are normally held and, thereby, interfere with students’ ability to attend other courses. In such cases, permission to include activities that will take students away from the University must be obtained before the course may be listed in the my.harvard Course Search. Instructors must consult with the Office of Undergraduate Education about courses below the 200- or 2000-level and with the Dean of the Graduate School about courses at or above the 200- or 2000-level. Ordinarily, instructors should plan no more than one class day away from the University in any given week and never more than five class days during the term, or ten days total including weekends. In all cases, the students’ obligations to other courses meeting at their regularly-scheduled times must have priority over course requirements that take students away from the University. Instructors must announce at the beginning of a course any requirements that would take students away from the University so that students may consider these requirements when choosing their courses.

Reading Period

At the end of each term, a period of six or seven days prior to the start of final examinations is designated as Reading Period. Reading Period is intended to be a time for students to reflect, review, and synthesize what they have learned during the semester. In order to protect this educational purpose, the following rules apply during Reading Period:

  • With the exception of designated intensive language courses, no regular instruction may take place during Reading Period. Sections and review sessions may take place during Reading Period as may class sessions that must be made up due to weather or other emergencies.
  • Courses may not assign new material during Reading Period.
  • All seated final examinations, of whatever duration (up to three hours) or scope, must take place on the assigned date that corresponds with a course’s Exam and Student Deadline Group as assigned by the Office of the Registrar. 
  • Final papers, take-home exams, projects, presentations, and other culminating course assignments due after the end of regular classes must be due on or before the day of each course’s assigned Examination and Student Deadline Group, but no earlier than the fourth day of Reading Period. Final projects that include individual or group presentations may be scheduled beginning on the fourth day of Reading Period and may extend through the Final Examination and Project Period.*
  • Short, regular assignments that address material covered in the last two weeks of classes (such as problem sets or response papers) may be due during the first three days of Reading Period.  

Regardless of whether a class meets during Reading Period, that time is an integral part of the term. Students are expected to remain in the immediate vicinity of Cambridge throughout this period.

* Each course will be assigned a final exam/student deadline group in order to spread out student deadlines and to establish grading due dates. While instructors may establish earlier deadlines per faculty legislation, the spirit of this policy is to spread students’ final assignment deadlines across the entire exam period to avoid having all assignments due at the same time. If an instructor decides to use an earlier deadline it is very important that students are well informed about this change from the posted deadline.

Examination Period

Courses that culminate in a final examination of any duration (up to three hours) must hold their exams during the designated Final Examination and Project Period and during the Exam/Final Deadline Group assigned by the FAS Registrar's Office. There are two exam sessions each day: morning exams begin at 9:00 a.m. and afternoon exams begin at 2:00 p.m.

Classrooms

Classroom assignments for courses are coordinated between academic departments and scheduling offices.

Instructors should immediately contact their department if the meeting time changes from the published course listing in my.harvard or when a change in location occurs after the initial classroom assignment has been determined.

Course meeting times and locations are published in my.harvard, as well as course websites, the mobile shopping tool, and the University catalog. 

To make audio-visual equipment or service requests, instructors should contact Media and Technology Services. (See Instructional Media Services.)

After-hour emergencies and problems with the temperature or ventilation of classrooms should be referred to the University Operations Center (617-495-5560). Classroom maintenance or repair requests should be referred to your department administrator, to Harvard Yard Operations (617-495-8842), or to the appropriate building manager.

Office of the FAS Registrar
Academic Planning: Classrooms Office
Richard A. & Susan F. Smith Campus Center
1350 Massachusetts Ave., Suite 450 
Cambridge, MA 02138
classrooms@fas.harvard.edu
617-495-1541 
registrar.fas.harvard.edu

The FAS Classrooms Office schedules about one-third of the classrooms in the FAS room inventory. The remaining classrooms are scheduled by the departments, centers, and houses.

Course Classroom Assignments

Initial classroom assignments by the FAS Classrooms Office are made after considering a number of factors including instructional requirements, enrollment history, accessibility, special circumstances, and room availability at the time of assignment. Faculty members requesting classroom space scheduled by the FAS Classrooms Office should communicate their classroom needs for their courses and course-related events to department administrators, who compile and submit room requests to the FAS Classrooms Office in July (for the fall term) and October (for the spring term).  Department administrators or course coordinators should enter classroom preferences in the desktop client of EMS.  Trainings will be held prior to due date for all new employees or those who need a refresher course.  The Classrooms Office will evaluate preferences and supply tentative assignments to each department.  Once the department has reviewed the assignments, classroom assignments will be sent to instructors and faculty members.

Assigned classrooms for courses and section meetings are  reserved from the first day of the term through the last day of the term.  Courses and section meetings will NOT be scheduled through the Reading Period, unless requested by teaching staff via FAS RoomBook. During the Examination Period, all classrooms are reserved for Final Exams. Classrooms are not reserved during University holidays and recesses.

Classroom Reassignment

Due to the fluctuation of enrollment during the shopping period, the FAS Classrooms Office typically does not reassign classrooms until after the Registration deadline, when initial enrollment figures are more accurate. However, if, after the first day of classes, there seems to be an urgent need to change room assignments, contact the FAS Classrooms Office immediately (617-495-1541). As a reminder, room assignments are subject to change due to enrollment numbers or other pedagogical needs.

Discussion Sections

Instructors should direct their Head Teaching Fellows to the FAS Registrar’s website to access “Guidelines for Requesting Section Space”. Classrooms for discussion sections are reserved on a first come, first served basis.

Reading Period

If instructors would like to hold class during the Reading Period, they must reserve a classroom via FAS RoomBook as their course will not be scheduled through the Reading Period. 

Examination Period

During the Final Examination Period, all classrooms are reserved for the FAS Exams Office. After the final examination schedule is set, limited classroom space may become available for review sessions.

Visitor’s Guide to Larger Lectures

Each term, the FAS Office of the Registrar produces the Visitor’s Guide to Larger Lectures. This guide is available to visiting prospective students and their parents through the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid website. Any instructor who does not wish to have his or her course listed in the guide should contact the FAS Classrooms Office no later than the enrollment deadline.

Non-Course Event: Due to the fluctuation of enrollment during the shopping period, and the several relocations of courses that occur as a result, the FAS Classrooms Office does not book rooms within its purview for non-course events until the course meeting locations have been finalized, usually within two weeks of the enrollment deadline.

FAS Registrar’s Office Website

The following documents and links are posted to the website:

Courses

FAS Classroom Inventory

Discussion Sections

Course Materials/Syllabi

Faculty should post a complete course syllabus to the course website before the start of the semester so that students can make efficient use of the course selection period during the first days of the term with minimal disruption to classes. To provide online access to your syllabus, call the HUIT help line at 617-495-9000 and specify that you are interested in instructional support.

The syllabus should include a listing of course readings and materials. To control the escalating cost of reproducing coursepacks and sourcebooks, instructors are encouraged to determine whether the course readings they assign are available electronically from the Harvard libraries, and if they are, to link to them from course websites. For information on how to include links from your syllabus/course web page directly to readings available in electronic format, contact your department's Library Liaison or refer to E-Resources on the Harvard Libraries website. The Programs and Services for Instructors page contains additional useful information for instructors.

In addition to a description of the course and its pedagogical goals, the syllabus should include contact information and office hours for teaching staff, a reading list, dates of hour/midterm exams, due dates for papers or other assignments, plans and expectations for Reading Period, course policy with respect to late work and makeup hour exams, and the basis on which the course grade will be awarded. It should also include a clear statement about plagiarism and collaboration. (See Papers and Other Written Assignments for a description of the policy and for template text for this portion of the syllabus.)

In selecting the dates for midterm examinations, as well as for papers and other assignments, instructors should be aware of the constraints of the academic calendar and should consult the information on religious holidays at www.interfaithcalendar.org. Instructors noting the possible dates of the course's final examination on the syllabus should also note on the syllabus that these dates are tentative until the final examination schedule is approved. Instructors are reminded of the policy that a three-hour final exam will not be scheduled for the course unless the Office of the Registrar is appropriately notified. For further information about final examinations, policy concerning alternative means of end-of-term assessment, and the process by which faculty should notify the Registrar if a three-hour exam is intended, see Final Examinations.

In courses designed for undergraduates it is helpful and beneficial for students to receive an evaluation on at least one course assignment before the seventh Monday of the term, the last day on which undergraduates may withdraw from a course. In addition, it is important to note any limitations on the credit earned by passing the course -- e.g., a full-year 8-credit course may not be divisible at midyear for 4 credits -- should  be made clear as part of the presentation of the course.

No substantial changes in the work load or calendar of a course should be made after the registration deadline each term.

Course Lists

As students enroll in courses, instructors will be able to view their course lists via their web-based portal pages at my.harvard.edu. After entering your HarvardKey on the authentication page, your portal page will appear.  Note that enrollment data are protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 and are therefore not for distribution. 

The online course lists are continually updated. Only when a student’s name appears on the course list is a student officially enrolled in a course. Instructors should report to the Office of the Registrar any student (other than auditors) who attends class, but whose name does not appear on the course list. Instructors should also report any student (except those with the status of “withdrawn”) who has stopped attending class, but whose name appears on the course list. These reports should be directed to the Office of the Registrar at 617-495-1519 or email enrollment@fas.harvard.edu.

Course Fees

No course may charge undergraduates special fees for course participation or required activities. Departmental budgets are expected to cover the cost of films, laboratory equipment and other materials. The aim of this policy is to ensure that all courses are equally accessible to students regardless of their financial means.

Student Enrollment

Drop, Add, Withdraw

Students are allowed five weekdays at the beginning of the term to attend courses in which they are considering enrolling. Students officially enroll through my.Harvard.

No undergraduate may drop or add a course or change grading status in a course after the fifth Monday of the term. Undergraduates have until the seventh Monday of the term to withdraw from a course. Exceptions to these rules may be granted only by the Administrative Board. Any course that a student drops by the deadline is removed from the student’s transcript. If a student withdraws from a course, that course remains on the transcript with the notation “WD.” Deadlines for graduate students are indicated in the Academic Calendar.

Instructor’s Permission and Petitions

Students wishing to enroll in courses that require the permission of the instructor will not be able to do so until the instructor admits them into the course via the permissions tool of my.harvard.  The instructor’s permission must be obtained for all undergraduate enrollments in graduate-level courses and for those that require the permission of the instructor.

Undergraduates adding a course after the Course Registration deadline or changing grading status to Pass/Fail must request permission via my.harvard. Permission is not required for dropping or withdrawing from a course. For graduate students, the instructor’s permission is required for adding or withdrawing from a course and is not required for dropping a course.

Instructors may not delegate their responsibility for approving course enrollments, change-of-course petitions, or submitting grades. Instructors are therefore asked to be available to students to discuss their course enrollment status and, when necessary, to grant permissions.

Limiting Enrollment in Courses at the 100- or 1000-Level and Below

As a general principle, students should be able to study the topics they want and for which they have the appropriate background, with the exception that concentration tutorials, including junior seminar programs, are ordinarily limited to concentrators. Nevertheless, there may be courses in which enrollment must be limited because of resource constraints or special instructional needs. The decision to limit enrollment for either or both of these reasons, as well as decisions about appropriate prerequisites, should be made by the instructional unit’s curriculum committee. The committee should be mindful of the general principle stated above, perhaps creating other venues where interested students can study the material in question.

When enrollment in a non-tutorial course is to be limited, the reason for the limitation should be reported to the Office of Undergraduate Education and the enrollment ceiling should be noted in the course catalog. The criteria for selecting among appropriately-qualified students for space in limited enrollment courses should be based on the curricular needs and interests of the students and on whether a student will have other opportunities to take the course. Selection on the basis of other criteria is inappropriate.

Enrollment of Non-FAS Students

Cross Registration

Students cross-registering from other Faculties or other institutions are allowed to enroll in FAS courses if they have obtained the instructor’s permission via the online cross-registration system. Instructors will be e-mailed with instructions when there are cross-registration requests awaiting your attention. Students registering from other Faculties or other institutions are subject to all of the FAS regulations and deadlines, including the examination schedule, and are graded according to the FAS system. The Pass/Fail option is not available to cross-registered students. The graduate student option to enroll in certain language courses on a SAT/UNS basis is also not available to cross-registered students.

Employees (Tuition Assistance Plan)

Employees of Harvard University may enroll in FAS courses through the Tuition Assistance Plan (TAP) administered by the Office of Human Resources. Employees are subject to all of the FAS regulations and deadlines, including the examination schedule, and are graded according to the FAS system. Employees are permitted to add or change a course once TAP and enrollment forms have been filed with the Office of the Registrar (Smith Center, 1350 Mass Ave) by the appropriate deadlines. The Pass/Fail option is not available to TAP students.

Auditing

Auditors are allowed in courses offered by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences only with an instructor’s permission. The following may be admitted as auditors: students enrolled in any Faculty of the University, individuals holding teaching appointments in the FAS, and their spouses. No official record is maintained for auditors.

Simultaneous Enrollment/Courses with Overlapping Meeting Times

A student may not enroll in courses that meet at the same time or overlapping times. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that there is no overlap in the meeting times of his or her courses. Exceptions to this rule may be granted only by the Administrative Board and will be considered only if the instructors in both overlapping courses agree and only in one or more of the following circumstances:

When the head of the course where class time is being missed and the person(s) providing the instruction during the regular class meeting agree to provide hour-for-hour direct and personal compensatory instruction. Availability during regular office hours or time with a different person does not satisfy the requirement for direct and personal contact.

When instruction in one of the courses is available on videotape, provided that (1) the course head agrees that the videotapes may be used for this purpose; (2) the lectures that are videotaped ordinarily do not provide opportunities for classroom discussion; (3) the videotapes will be available in a timely fashion so that they can be viewed before the next class period; (4) the student will miss attending part or all of no more than 1/3 of the instructional periods in the course (not including sections or labs) [N.B. if a student will miss any part of a day’s lecture, it is as though he or she will miss all of it]; and (5) the instructor in the course in which the lectures are videotaped agrees to offer any hour examinations or other in-class exercises at a time that will not preclude the student from attending the second course. In those courses that do not use the blackboard or other visual aids, course-provided audiotapes may be substituted for videotapes.

When a senior can meet degree requirements only by taking the two particular courses in question and will have no other opportunity to enroll in the courses before graduation. In such circumstances, the Administrative Board may approve reasonable accommodations in consultation with the instructors of the courses involved.

Undergraduates in Courses Designated "Primarily for Graduates"

Undergraduates may not enroll in courses numbered in the 300s or 3000s (Graduate Courses of Reading and Research). The only exceptions to the latter rule are fourth-year Advanced Standing students who are candidates for the master’s degree and who may enroll in such upper-level courses with the instructor’s permission. Incomplete (INC) cannot under any circumstances be given to undergraduates.

Pass/Fail Grading Status (Undergraduates Only)

In 1967 the Faculty extended the use of Pass/Fail in order to permit students to enrich their educational experience by enrolling in courses they might otherwise avoid because of material that was too advanced or too unfamiliar. Consequently, with an instructor’s permission any undergraduate may enroll in a course on a Pass/Fail rather than a letter-graded basis. After the fifth Monday of the term students are not allowed to add Pass/Fail courses or to change their grading status in courses from or to Pass/Fail. Students enrolled in courses on a Pass/Fail basis are so identified on the course lists and grade sheets.

Instructors may not request that students enroll in a course on a Pass/Fail basis. The Pass/Fail option is not available to graduate, cross-registered, or TAP students.

Student Attendance

All students are expected to attend classes regularly. Absence from academic exercises for whatever reason, including representing the College in extracurricular and athletic activities, does not relieve a student from responsibility for any part of the work required by the course during the period of absence. Students who, by their classroom absence, neglect work in a course may be excluded from the course. (See Exclusion.)

Students should not leave the Cambridge vicinity during Reading Periods or Examination Periods or for an extended time during the term without the permission of their Allston Burr Resident Dean or Resident Dean of First-Year Students.

Storm and Emergency Conditions

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences rarely cancels classes due to weather. However, faculty and section leaders who commute should not be expected to put themselves in danger during serious storms, and may choose to cancel their individual classes. Because the Faculty rarely cancels classes, it is important that course staff inform students at the start of the term of the procedures for learning of class meetings that will be canceled. Similarly, it is important that the course staff provide students with instructions on how to inform instructional staff of planned absences. Instructors might find the following information helpful in establishing storm and emergency procedures for their courses:

  • For the most part, undergraduate students are in residence and are expected to attend classes. Undergraduate students who decide that they cannot make it to class should be able to find in their course materials instructions on how to inform the course’s instructional staff of absences from class. For example, some courses request that the student inform the instructor or the teaching fellow of the planned absence by email or by telephone.
  • Similarly, students should be able to find instructions in the course materials that indicate how the instructional staff would inform students of the cancellation of a class or section meeting. For example, courses might inform students of the cancellation via an announcement posted at the course’s home page on the web, via an email to the class attendees, or by leaving a message on the voice mail system of a centralized departmental telephone.
  • FAS offices and academic departments will be open depending on staff availability and whether there are critical functions in progress. Call the central number for that office before going there.
  • Final examinations and makeup examinations are rarely cancelled by the College and students should report to their exam rooms on time.

Restricting Attendance

With the exception of classes held prior to Course Registration deadline, when any registered student may attend a class, ordinarily only students enrolled in a course and auditors who have been given specific permission by the instructor may attend course meetings. From time to time, instructors may permit other guests, such as colleagues, parents, alumnae/i, or prospective students, to attend individual class meetings; however, instructors are always free to restrict attendance at a class meeting or meetings to regularly enrolled students and authorized auditors. Each term the Registrar’s Office publishes the Visitor’s Guide to Larger Lectures. Copies of this guide are made available to visiting prospective students and their parents through the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. Any instructor who does not wish to have his or her course listed in the guide should contact the Classrooms Office classrooms@fas.harvard.edu (617-495-1541) no later than the Course Registration deadline.

Senior Theses and General Examinations

Date for Submission of Senior Theses and General Examinations

The dates for submission of undergraduate senior theses and for concentration general examinations are set by the individual concentrations but must be early enough to enable the concentration to make its degree recommendations available to the Office of the Registrar during the first week of the Examination Period.

The dates for required language and general examinations for graduate students are set by the departments.

Students should be informed of these dates well in advance of the examination.

Hour and Midterm Examinations

The administration of hour and midterm examinations is the responsibility of the instructor; these exams should normally be scheduled during regular class meeting times. In cases where hour and midterm examinations must be given outside regular class meeting times the course head must offer a makeup examination for documented academic conflicts. The FAS Registrar's Office has no role in the administration of hour or midterm examinations. Instructional staff is responsible for administering Accessible Education Office-approved accommodations, in consultation with AEO staff.

Instructors are required by law to offer makeup examinations to students who are absent from hour and midterm examinations for the observance of a religious holiday. Instructors are not required to offer makeup examinations to students who are absent from hour and midterm examinations for other reasons.

In cases other than absence for a religious holiday, if an instructor is satisfied that the absence is necessary and that omitting a grade for the missed hour or midterm examination will not affect the student’s course grade, final evaluation of the student’s work in the course may be determined from the remainder of the course work. The instructor may also elect to give a makeup examination. The responsibility for such decisions rests with the instructor only and not with the Dean’s Office or the Administrative Board. Instructors may also decide whether to require the attendance of graduate students at hour and midterm examinations.

Although instructors are obligated to offer makeup examinations only in the case of absence for the observance of a religious holiday, students who have obtained proper Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) documentation of illness may not be penalized for their absence from hour and midterm examinations. The appropriate form must be signed by a HUHS medical professional and given to the student’s Resident/Allston Burr Assistant Dean who will write the student a letter acknowledging receipt of the HUHS form. This letter may be presented to the instructor as certification of the student’s illness.

Examination Booklets

Examination booklets for hour or midterm examinations may be obtained from the Science Center Mail Room (617-495-5347), Monday through Friday from 10:00am to 4:00pm. A Harvard officer or faculty identification card must be shown to receive them.

Athletic Events

The Department of Athletics is aware that midterm examinations are frequently given in the seventh or eighth weeks of the term, and thereby schedules few athletic contests away from Cambridge during that time. Sometimes the academic calendars of other institutions require contests to be scheduled in these periods. However, absence from academic exercises in order to represent the College in athletic activities does not relieve the student from responsibility for any part of the work required in the course during the period of the absence.

Absences for Religious Holidays

A student who is absent from an hour or midterm examination as a consequence of his or her religious belief “shall be provided with an opportunity to make up such examination...” (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 151C, Sec. 2B). It is therefore recommended that prior to setting the dates for such exercises or examinations course heads request dates of absence due to religious holiday observance from students in their classes. It is the responsibility of the students concerned to provide that information promptly when so requested. If conflicts are unavoidable, students who are absent from hour or midterm examinations for religious reasons shall be offered an opportunity to make up the work, without penalty, unless it can be demonstrated that such an opportunity would constitute an “unreasonable burden” on the faculty. Information on religious holidays can be found at www.interfaithcalendar.org.

Written Assignments

Papers and Other Written Assignments

One or more papers or other written assignments (e.g., problem sets, laboratory reports) are often included as part of the work required of students in their courses. Most students learn more effectively from a series of graduated writing assignments than from a single term paper, particularly in courses designed to introduce students to a new field or a particular mode of inquiry. The feedback that students receive on work completed early in the term helps to clarify what is expected in written assignments, and later assignments provide students the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned from the earlier comments.

The nature and number of written assignments and their due dates should be included on the course syllabus. All regular written assignments must be due by the last day of classes, though instructors may grant individual undergraduates an extension of time for medical reasons and other special circumstances up to the end of the Examination Period, but no later, and may grant graduate students an extension of time until the end of the next regular term. (See Late Work and Extension of Time for Course Work.) Incomplete (INC) cannot under any circumstances be given to undergraduates. This policy does not include written final assessments (take-home exam, final paper, etc.). For information on final assessment deadlines, please see New Legislation section of Information For Faculty.

Plagiarism

Any material submitted to meet course requirements — homework assignments, papers, projects, examinations — is expected to be a student’s own work. Students are directed to Harvard Guide to Using Sources at the beginning of their first term, and in the required first-year writing course, Expository Writing 20; undergraduates are urged to take great care in distinguishing their own ideas and thoughts from information and analysis derived from printed and electronic sources. Although instructors are encouraged to take every opportunity to reinforce and develop these lessons, the final responsibility for knowing proper forms of citation rests with students.

In cases of suspected plagiarism by an undergraduate student, please contact the Associate Dean of Academic Integrity and Student Conduct. (See The Administrative Boards) In cases of suspected plagiarism by a graduate student, please contact the GSAS Dean for Student Affairs.

Collaboration

It is essential that instructors set out carefully in writing and at the outset of a course or course assignment the extent of permissible student collaboration in the preparation of papers, computer programs, or examinations. Students must assume that collaboration in the completion of assignments is permitted unless explicitly prohibited by the instructor. Students should be reminded that they are expected to acknowledge any collaboration and its extent in all submitted work.

Sample text for syllabus, if collaboration is not allowed:

Students should be aware that in this course collaboration of any sort on any work submitted for formal evaluation is not permitted.

If collaboration is to be allowed, the instructor may wish to define what is acceptable and what is not. Here is a possible approach:

You are encouraged to consult with one another on the choice of paper topics, and you may also share library resources. You may find it useful to discuss your chosen topic with your peers, particularly if you are working on the same topic as someone else, but you should ensure that the written paper you submit for evaluation is the result of your own research and reflects your own approach to the topic.

Submission of the Same Work to More than One Course

Papers and other work should normally be submitted to only one course. Any student who wishes to submit to another course or for another academic purpose the same or similar work used in a previous course must obtain the prior written permission of the instructor. If a student wishes to submit the same or similar work to more than one course during the same term, the prior written permission of all of the instructors involved must be obtained. A student who submits the same or similar work to more than one course without such prior permission will ordinarily be required to withdraw from the College or from GSAS.

Late Work and Extensions

Late Work and Extension of Time for Course Work

Undergraduates

Instructors have the authority to grant undergraduates an extension of time for medical reasons and other special circumstances up to the end of the Examination Period. Ordinarily, students requesting an extension of time to complete course work must have received the consent of the instructor before the final examination or before the final meeting of a course in which there is no final examination.

In deciding the length of an extension granted for medical reasons, the head of the course should apply the principle used by the Administrative Board when it votes extensions beyond the Examination Period: Extensions are granted for a period commensurate with the time missed during an illness, without penalty. Questions about an appropriate extension for an individual undergraduate may be addressed to the student’s Allston Burr Resident Dean or Resident Dean of First-Year Students.

If a student submits work after a grade has been filed with the Registrar but before the end of the Examination Period, and if acceptance of that late work results in a grade change, the instructor should submit a grade change at my.harvard.edu. (See Changes in Grades.)

An extension of time to complete course work beyond the end of the Examination Period can be granted to an undergraduate only by vote of the Administrative Board of Harvard College and only in exceptional circumstances. Instructors may not accept work from an undergraduate after the end of the Examination Period without the explicit authorization of the Administrative Board

Undergraduates cannot receive a grade of incomplete (INC).

Graduate Students

Instructors may grant graduate students an extension of time until the end of the next regular term. However, such extensions of time for completion of course work must be granted before the assignment of the course grade.

Midterm Grades for Undergraduates

Instructors teaching an undergraduate course are asked to report students making unsatisfactory progress to the Allston Burr Resident Dean/Resident Dean of First-Year Students. This process can also be used to communicate special concerns about a student to the Resident Dean even if satisfactory progress is being made. Instructors may submit progress reports from approximately the third week of the semester until final grading opens.

These progress reports go to the Allston Burr Resident Deans/Resident Deans of First-Year Students and are used only for advising and counseling purposes. They are extremely important for identifying students who may be facing any of a wide range of difficulties. Instructors are also asked to cooperate with the Resident Deans of First-Year Students and the Allston Burr Resident Deans regarding inquiries that they may make about the status of individual students. However, please note that instructors should also be in direct contact with any student making unsatisfactory progress.

March grades in full year courses extending from September to May should reflect the student’s current standing for the spring term. At the same time, instructors should report students whose cumulative grade for the entire year is unsatisfactory.

Instructional Support Staff

Hiring, Training, and Supervision of Instructional Support Staff

The teaching done by supervised instructional support staff is an important part of the undergraduate educational experience, as well as a critical aspect of the training of graduate students. Departments and individual instructors have developed successful strategies that encourage and ensure a high standard of instruction by teaching fellows, teaching assistants, and course assistants. These local strategies have been reinforced by guidelines developed by the Committee on Undergraduate Education and the Committee on Graduate Education and endorsed by the Faculty Council.

Categories of Instructional Support Staff

Teaching fellows are candidates for advanced degrees and are registered as students at Harvard, ordinarily in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). They serve as section leaders, tutors, and laboratory section leaders, but always under the supervision of instructors who hold Faculty-level teaching appointments in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) or another Harvard Faculty. (See Responsibility for Evaluation for the appropriate role of teaching fellows in the grading of students.)

Teaching assistants engage in the same kinds of supervised instruction as teaching fellows but are not enrolled as candidates for an advanced degree in any department of the University. Ordinarily, teaching assistants will have received at least the AB before the appointment begins.

Undergraduate course assistants are currently registered Harvard undergraduates who, under the supervision of instructors who hold Faculty-level teaching appointments in the FAS or another Harvard Faculty, assume limited instructional responsibilities. Course assistants ordinarily assist only in mathematics, science, and computer science courses. (See Responsibility for Evaluation for the appropriate role of course assistants in the grading of students.)

In accordance with the Faculty’s own policy, course heads should appoint qualified GSAS students for teaching positions before hiring non-GSAS candidates.

Teaching Fellow Appointment Guidelines

The Committee on Graduate Education and the Faculty Council have adopted the following general guidelines for the Teaching Fellow appointment process in the humanities and social sciences:

1. Early Allocations of Sections: Each spring, on the basis of prior enrollment histories, the Office of Undergraduate Education (OUE) in Harvard College will pre-allocate course sections for eligible departmental courses for both terms of the coming academic year. Departments should then provide information on available teaching positions to eligible graduate students as early as possible. Please note that pre-allocated sections are not guaranteed (see below for more information on the possible reassignment of teaching fellows).

2. Application Period: Departments should accept applications for teaching fellow positions for several weeks to ensure the broadest possible applicant pool before a decision is made. To avoid financial inequities, final decisions should involve consultation between the course head and the Chair or Director of Graduate Studies, or other designated member of the Department or program.

3. Hiring Criteria and Timetable: The criteria for appointing teaching fellows should include an evaluation of each candidate’s preparation, English language proficiency, student graduate year, teaching experience, teaching guarantee (see note below), and satisfactory academic standing. Note in this regard that GSAS: 1) requires all incoming PhD students who are non-native speakers of English and who have received their undergraduate degrees from non-English speaking institutions pass English proficiency tests before they can be appointed as teaching fellows, and; 2) prohibits graduate students who receive Dissertation Completion Fellowships from teaching as well as taking on concurrent employment. Further details on English language requirements and dissertation completion fellowships for teaching fellows may be found in the "Teaching" page of the GSAS website.

The following paragraphs detail the appointment process:

Each spring, the OUE will request that departments submit their enrollment estimates and course section requests for the coming academic year via the on-line section allocation tool (SAT). The OUE will make its pre-allocations directly in the SAT. After the course enrollment deadline, the SAT will automatically display actual enrollment numbers, which the OUE will use to make adjustments to section allocations. For questions or further details about this process, contact the Office of Undergraduate Education (instruct@fas.harvard.edu).

Departments should make teaching fellow appointments by the end of the spring term for the coming academic year. Preference for teaching fellow appointments should be given to students to whom a guarantee of teaching was offered at admission (see note below).

After those students who are expected to teach as part of their funding packages have been accommodated, departments and course heads are expected to consider and prioritize all other qualified applicants from within GSAS; special attention should be paid to qualified applicants from related departments and disciplines.

Written notification should be provided to each successful applicant making explicit the teaching assignment and the terms of the teaching appointment, as well as expectations for training and orientation. Applicants who are not appointed as teaching fellows should be informed in writing at the same time so that they can make alternative arrangements for financial support before the academic year begins. If a student who has been offered an appointment receives funding from another source or for other reasons declines the opportunity, that appointment may be offered to another GSAS student after direct consultation with GSAS, and in accordance with the priorities described above.

An important note on teaching "guarantees": As an integral part of their graduate funding packages, PhD students in the Humanities and Social Sciences are ordinarily guaranteed two sections of teaching per term for four terms (prior to their sixth year); meeting this guarantee should be seen as a cooperative endeavor between the student and program.

As soon as possible in the semester, departments should reassign teaching fellows from courses that are under-enrolled to those that are over-subscribed, within certain limits. Reassignments should be made on the basis of the graduate student’s prior indication of courses or areas in which he or she is prepared to teach. Departments should offer reassignments in ways that will minimize the number of teaching fellows with multiple preparations. If no reassignment is possible, the financial commitment will be honored, even if no instructional support is needed in the course. In this case, the teaching fellow should perform meaningful work for the department or committee, preferably in support of undergraduate instruction. Such reassignment must be approved by the Office of Undergraduate Education (instruct@fas.harvard.edu).

Finally, be aware that immigration regulations limit the employment of international students to twenty hours per week while school is in session. This limitation also applies to teaching fellowships and research assistantships. Therefore, international students’ teaching cannot exceed .57 FTE time during each term.

For additional information about teaching fellow appointments, please refer to the "Teaching" page of the GSAS website.

Training and Supervision of Instructional Support Staff

A number of principles have been formulated to assist departments in the training and supervision of instructional support staff.

Departments should develop regular procedures for screening and training instructional support staff as well as routine methods of supervising and monitoring their performance. Not only do such practices help to maintain good standards, but they also encourage graduate students, in particular, to improve their teaching skills. Student teaching should be a rewarding opportunity rather than an automatic step in graduate education.

The Faculty Council has adopted the following guidelines for the training and preparation of first-time instructional support staff:

  1. All departments and instructional programs must develop plans for preparing and orienting first-time instructional support staff in the pedagogical skills that will allow them to fulfill their teaching obligations. Orientation in issues of appropriate professional conduct should also be provided. (See Professional Conduct.) These plans should be approved by the Office of Undergraduate Education. These plans should provide for practice teaching or other orientation to teaching methods at or before the start of the teaching appointment for those without prior teaching experience, and should also provide for the observation and appraisal of teaching performance. The Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning has developed a wide range of instructional support and development programs for Harvard College’s classroom instructors. Departments are encouraged to have their new and experienced teaching fellows and instructional support staff utilize these resources. Detailed information about the Bok Center's resources and programs can be found at https://bokcenter.harvard.edu/graduate-students.
     
  2. Individual course heads remain responsible for the orientation, preparation, oversight, and evaluation of assistants in the execution of their specific course responsibilities.

Instructional support staff should be provided with structured teaching assignments, with the recognition that section teaching is more effective the more the instructor is involved. Regular, perhaps weekly, meetings to review course material, visits by the instructor to sections, and the teaching of a section by the instructor can be helpful to instructional support staff. In certain departments, some or all of these forms of involvement are routinely expected. Departments may adjust the teaching credit given to Faculty members, if need be, to encourage their involvement in section teaching. The Office of Undergraduate Education’s “instructional lunch fund” is available to support weekly luncheon meetings with instructional support staff. The Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning encourages instructors and instructional support staff to seek help in improving their teaching quality.

By vote of the Faculty on October 17, 1995, teaching fellows and other instructional support staff are expected to attend lectures of the courses in which they hold teaching appointments, unless in the judgment of the course head the nature of their work for the course does not depend upon their attendance at the lectures.

Departments should devise a record-keeping system on instructional support staff based on instructors’ reports on and observations of their performance. Such departmental monitoring can be used to reward outstanding teaching and to provide a solid basis upon which to recommend graduate students for future teaching jobs. At the same time, regular evaluation ensures that a poor teaching performance does not go unnoticed.

Student Compensation and Credit for Course Work

A student may not receive course credit for the same work for which he or she is financially compensated.

Graduate teaching fellows should not receive Reading and Research (300-level) or other course credit for the time they devote to teaching, but may have their teaching efforts recognized - and recorded - by signing up for TIME-T on their study cards. TIME is the term used by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences to designate independent study (TIME-C), research (TIME-R), or teaching (TIME-T). Graduate students "receive credit" for such pursuits in the sense that TIME activities appear on their GSAS transcripts; these entries, however, are not graded.

Graduate students may enroll in departmentally designated 300(0)-level courses to have their teaching, research, or independent study efforts recognized and recorded (formerly designated by enrolling in TIME-T, TIME-R, and TIME-C). These courses are typically ungraded and will appear on students’ GSAS transcripts.  

An undergraduate course assistant may not receive academic credit in any form, including Independent Study and Supervised Reading and Research course credit, for courses with which he or she is assisting. (Research for which a student receives a grant may inform their academic work. Research performed for other financial compensation may inform academic work in subsequent semesters only, and only with the express permission of the employer, including a laboratory head.)

Special Considerations Concerning the Appointment of Undergraduate Course Assistants

Because special considerations enter into the appointment of undergraduates as course assistants, instructors should observe the following guidelines when hiring and supervising course assistants:

  • Departments and committees that employ undergraduate course assistants should consult with the candidate’s Allston Burr Assistant Dean to confirm that the candidate has attained sophomore standing and has earned a cumulative GPA of 3.33 or higher. Departments may also wish to consult with the candidate’s Allston Burr Assistant Dean and academic adviser about the candidate’s ability to successfully balance the duties of the course assistant position with his or her other commitments.
  • Under faculty supervision, undergraduate course assistants may lead sections or problem-solving sessions and assume other limited instructional duties. Over the term, they may work an average of 10-12 hours per week. However, undergraduate course assistants may not take on any administrative responsibilities for a course, such as those typically held by a head teaching fellow.
  • Under faculty supervision, undergraduate course assistants may evaluate other students’ assignments when the grading involves objective assessment, such as checking answers on a problem set. However, undergraduate course assistants may not grade other students’ work when that work requires subjective assessment, such as evaluating essays, written portions of examinations, or final projects.

Also, as undergraduates may fail to recognize the implications of serving in an instructional role, instructors should take special responsibility for initiating discussions about professional conduct, including the impropriety of amorous relationships with students and the importance of both equity and confidentiality.

Q Course Evaluation

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences oversees a process of course evaluation of undergraduate and graduate courses each term. This evaluation process serves several purposes. It provides feedback from students to the head of a course about course structure, the quality of the instruction, and the nature of assignments. It also provides important feedback for instructional support staff, many of whom are in their early years of teaching and benefit from the comments of students. Participation in the course evaluation process is required of all faculty in courses with 5 or more students. The course evaluation process itself takes place online.

Students who, for whatever reason, submit work either not their own or without clear attribution to its sources will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including requirement to withdraw from the College. Students who have been found responsible for any violation of these standards will not be permitted to submit a Q evaluation of the course in which the infraction occurred.

Summary statistics and comments submitted by students are accessed electronically by the course heads, instructors, teaching fellows, teaching assistants, and course assistants of evaluated courses after final grades for the term have been submitted (Q.fas.harvard.edu). Course evaluation results are also made available to the chair of the department or committee offering the course. Both faculty and instructional support staff, particularly teaching fellows, should keep this information as it will be useful later as an input for promotion decisions and as part of consideration for other teaching positions. These evaluations will be part of the graduate student’s electronic teaching record and will be the basis for the Bok teaching awards. Finally, aggregate numerical data and limited text results are also made available to students, providing them with additional information for use in their course selection process. Students can access the course evaluation results through the online course selection tool at my.harvard.edu.

The Office of Undergraduate Education reviews the forms for any member of the instructional support staff whose average "overall" rating raises concerns about the quality of instruction. In these very few cases, the Dean of Undergraduate Education may send a letter to that instructor, copied to the course head(s), urging him or her to seek appropriate advice on how to improve his or her teaching. If members of the instructional support staff receive such cautionary letters a second time, they may be prohibited from further teaching in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.